Mastering Balance by focusing on Faith Family and Fitness -- A Creative Interview-

Akua, and I are members of the Group Passionistas [a group for female entrepreneurs] on Facebook.  After reading many of her posts, I was amazed at all that she packs into one day.  She has a thriving business, a full time career, a family (she’s very involved with), and lots of friends.  And, she finds time for all of it.  This interview was prompted mostly by curiosity.  But, I also wondered what nuggets she could pass on to those of us who are trying to master finding balance in our every day lives.  I truly enjoyed getting to know her better and getting her realistic, “tell it like it is” point of view.  She doesn’t deny that it is work that demands commitment, but demonstrates that it CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED.

How long have you been committed to healthy eating and working out?

I’ve been working out and eating healthy consistently  for the past 10 years.  Please note that for me eating healthy is all about balance.  I’ll say, I eat healthy about 80% of the time, but I also allow some “cheats” 20% of the time. I enjoy going out to eat with my family and friends.  I have found that  this way allows me to remain consistent  and not feel deprived.

What does your routine look like and do you change it up depending on the season or your moods?

My exercise routine changes according to my goals at the time. No 2 days of working out is ever the same. I set mini goals either weekly or monthly for myself. (i.e: hold planks for more minutes, do x amount of pull ups, run a certain amount of miles, etc. )My daily workout can range from full body circuit training, treadmill interval runs with inclines, heavy lifting, Insanity (my fav…Shaun T is my MAN) bleacher circuits, boxing,  and a host of others.  For me it is  all about constantly challenging your routine and shocking your body. A challenged body will be a changed body.!

How do you balance a full time job, your family and make time for yourself and your Boot Camp?

The balance  for me took some time. I started  this journey over 10 years ago as a single woman with very few responsibilities aside from my teaching career .  In the process, I’ve gotten married, become a mother and owner of 2 businesses (BodybyAkua Fitness LLC  and Treat You Right Foods LLC ).  My balance comes from knowing that each of these aspects of my life are equally important.   What I know for sure is that we MAKE  time for what we really want . My family and faith are extremely important to me, but I am also aware that to sustain my family, I must work hard to provide. I MAKE time for my fitness lifestyle because without  my health and a clear mind, I cannot be a good wife, mother, friend, and an entrepreneur. These elements are interconnected. I cannot succeed in one without the other.  My Fitness is seriously the magic potion that powers me through the rest of my busy life.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to make positive change for a healthier lifestyle?

My advice  to anyone who wants to make a healthier  lifestyle a part of their routine will be to first figure out why you want to get healthy and fit to begin with.  If your  reason for a healthier lifestyle is temporary,  then your results  will also be temporary.  So for example, if you only want to exercise and get healthy because you are in a wedding, going on a vacation or trying to impress someone at a class reunion, then you are most likely not going to continue once those events come and go.  Being healthy and fit should not be temporary, but rather a part of your regular routine. When you change your mind set  and look at healthy living as a daily necessity, you are most likely to stick with it.   Also, when starting out, start with smaller  changes in order to not feel overwhelmed.  (Cut out one sugary drink daily, eat one less fast food this week, go for a nice easy walk after dinner, park the car a little further  and walk, take the stairs, cook one healthy  meal at home). These changes, while small will eventually become habits and help with your success.

Can you share a favorite quick and easy recipe that our readers can prepare for their families?

I pride myself in being the “queen of quick meals”. With such a hectic schedule, being able to make a quick, yet healthy meal is the way to go. The trick is to have already prepared or quick steamed foods on hand.  Example.: Roasted chicken, egg whites, steam ready brown rice,  veggies,  spices, coconut or olive oil sprays )

My favorite quick meal to prep for my family  is my Healthy chicken Fried Rice with veggies. This meal is loaded with all nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body. (Good carbs, Protein, healthy fats, fiber etc.)

(Steam the rice and veggies in advance)
Heat pan with Spray  of coconut or olive oil .
Add egg whites to pan and cook scramble style, add steamed veggies of choice, mix together  and add your favorite  spices, I also add 2 tbsp of ginger dressing, add 1 tbsp of oil as well as shredded  chicken and steamed brown rice.
Mix all well and cook together for about 3 to 5 minutes.  DONE
During the cold winter months  I use my Crockpot to make steel cut oatmeal overnight, so by morning, it’s ready to go.  just add some fruits or peanut butter.

 What is your favorite exercise and the one you hate but love the results?

Currently, my favorite exercise is any variation of  squats.  Squats are awesome  because since they incorporate  such big muscles, it burn tons of calories and a proper squat can also work the core and other parts of the body besides the lower. Plus, it shapes the Glutes nicely.  I seem to always find a way to add in some squats daily.   I have developed a love /hate relationship with the burpees lately. Burpees are EXCELLENT for total body conditioning. There are so many variations!  It works almost every single muscle in the body. I love them because I know they are effective  but I hate them because they easily wear me out.

Any words of wisdom that you would like to add.

I would like to add that fitness/healthy living is a personal choice. YOUR BODY. YOUR DRIVE. YOUR RESULTS. Please know that you are and should always remain your own competition. Strive to be better each day than the day before.  Set small goals for yourself and find ways to accomplish those goal. It is ok to admire  and be motivated  by others,  but,  please do not compare yourself to others in this journey.  Each individual has their own story and history. Celebrate YOUR accomplishments be it small or big.

With the craze  of social media and “fitness models” on the internet,  people tend to want to look like these models and look for quick fixes to get there.. Well the truth is there is NO PILL,  NO TEA,  NO WRAP,  NO CREAM OR WAIST TRAINER that can take the place of eating healthy  and moving the body. The only way to a fitter body is to put in some hard a** work and a balanced clean diet. .

You can find Akua all over the web:







Mastering Balance - Akua Boakye - A Creative Interview -

How to Capture Memories with a Yearly Family Photo Book?

Capturing Memories with Yearly Photo Books

Four years ago, I decided to start putting together a Yearly Family Photo Book.  The years were going by way too fast, and I wanted to document it . The thing about digital photography in my opinion, is that the memories get stuck either on your SD Card, Your Phone or Your Camera.  And, then the ones that get uploaded only seem to make it as far as Facebook.(Well at least in my case.)

The first two years, I struggled through a year’s worth of pictures, trying to decide which ones were worthy of a spot in our Photo Book.  The process was tedious, and frankly more than annoying. So last year, I decided to try to stream line my process.  Hopefully, it will save you some aggravation should you decide to do this for your family.

1.  Cataloging – At the end of every month, I download all the pictures that are on my various devices.  Then, I take my time and go through them and weed out the duds. Then I save them on my Desktop to a specific folder named for that month.  As I save them, I try to give them names that would inspire captions for the book.

2.  Uploading – After I have completed that, I upload them to Shutterfly and then make sure they go into the My Projects Folder, so that I can come back to it the following month.

3.  The Finished Project – At the end of the year, or realistically at the beginning of the following year.  I give my Saved Project the once over.  For the most part, you should not have much to do at this time.  But, most likely you will want to add some pics of the Holiday Season to complete your project.

Capture Life

Photo Credit: Colorado Senior Life

Note:  I use Shutterfly for pretty much everything photo related, but there are several options out there.  I love Shutterfly specifically, because several times during the year they offer a coupon for a free photo book, and in that case you will most likely only have to pay for shipping.  Unless you are like me and you have so many pics that you go over the allotted page requirement.  But, even still its worth it!!

Do you have pictures that you lost or wished that you had printed?

Shutterfly Evergreen 300x600 - Capture Memories with a Shutterfly Photo Book

Our Delayed 2014 Christmas Home Tour — Welcome In…

This Year’s Christmas Tour was delayed, obviously.  But, things got so busy leading up to Christmas that there honestly wasn’t enough time to post.  This years Tour will be more pictures than words.  Welcome to our Little Piece of Heaven — Enjoy!!

Our 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Front Foyer

Kid's Tree - Decorated with Kid's Handmade Ornaments

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Holiday Mantel

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Joy In The Kitchen Window

2014 Christmas Tour - Formal Living Room - Decorator Tree & Front Door Area

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Decorator Tree + Stage Presents Exclusive Holiday Deer Pillow

Coffee In Front of The Tree - 2014 Christmas Home Tour

2014 Christmas Home Tour - Putting Gifts Out Under The Tree

Decorating brings me much joy, but decorating for the holidays brings me enjoyment on another level.  This time of year is still wrapped in magic for me, even now.  Watching the excitement on my children’s faces as the whole house comes together, and knowing that we are creating life long memories leaves me totally blissful!!  I believe that my love for decorating and this time of year, was passed on to me by my amazing mother and I only hope that it is something my kids will do with joy, for their own families years from now.  Our whole family, hubby included gets wrapped up in the excitement, of the Christmas Elf, Santa, and the real reason for the season.  I hope that you all had an amazing Holiday and wish you Only the Best for the Year to Come.

— Sheree

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This thing called… an Advent Calendar

This thing called .... a Advent Calendar

Hubby and I have been contemplating purchasing an Advent Calendar for the past couple of years, but neither of us were sure exactly what purpose it served.  And, the last thing we wanted to do was to add anything to Christmas that would require us to exert any more effort than we already do during the Holiday Season.  So year after year, we have passed.

This year (2014) however, they seemed to be all over the DIY circuit, which of course sparked my interest again.  And, some of the ones that I was coming across seemed like they would be something that I could tackle and actually be pleased with the outcome.

So I was off to do my research, little did I know that this would be much more involved than I thought. Literally, every one seemed to have their own way of doing it.  Some folks gave a gift for each day, similar to Hanukkah   Some folks did it for the entire month of December. Some people did it for the 12 days of Christmas.  Others made sure that it corresponded with the Advent Season.

After learning about how other’s did it.  I decided, which I am sure is of no surprise to you, to do it MY WAY!!  I decided that we would do it for 12 days and I really didn’t think it was important when we started it, as long as we got in 12 days prior to Christmas Eve.(we started today)  I decided that for the first 9 days, we would discuss the Fruits of the Spirit, in a way that a 10 year old and a 4 year old could both comprehend.  And, then for the remaining days, we would discuss 3 character traits, that we thought were vital to being good people.  We choose Empathy, Forgiveness, and Honor.

After being woo’d by all the great DIY Advent Calendars, I took the easy way out and created a printable version.  Maybe, I will do something more complex next year.

Do you think this is something you would like to do with your little ones? Join us on our journey, here’s a free printable for you. Right Click – Save – Print and Enjoy!! (Just right click and save and you are good to go!!)


Fruit of the Spirit Advent Calendar

Enjoy the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

2014 Handmade with Love Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Stage Presents is currently compiling a 2014 “Handmade with Love” Holiday Gift Guide for Seasonal Shoppers.  If you would like to have your product featured on our list please email me at, with the subject Holiday Gift Guide Submissions.  Each submission should contain your company name, product, product value, and who the product is most suitable for (see Gift Guide Groupings- listed below), as well as any photos that you would like to feature with your submission.  Photo Quality is very important, since we aren’t able to view your physical product.  We need to be able to discern the quality from the pictures.

The 2014 gift guide has a minimum product value of $20.00 for inclusion.  The gift guide will be published in early November and be promoted regularly until Christmas Day.  An actual start date will be provided to you once, we have accepted your submissions.  Items that are selected for The Gift Guide will be promoted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!!  You will be required to post the link on your pages as well, as to insure that everyone included gets their products Cross Promoted.  As you know, most Holiday Gift Guides, require you to submit your actual product and or pay to enter.  Well, THIS ONE IS DIFFERENT!!  The purpose of this Holiday Gift Guide is to help fellow businesses promote their quality products during the Holiday Season!!  

Gift Guide Groupings:

  • For Her
  • For Him
  • For Couples
  • For Infants and Toddlers
  • For Teens
  • For The Home
  • For Pets
  • For Foodies
  • For the Fitness Buffs

There will be four selections from each Grouping.  When submitting a product for Children please Indicate the Age Group that your item is geared towards.

** Please note that this is a Family Friendly Gift Guide, so keep that in mind when submitting your products.

Feel Free to Contact me with any questions that you may have.

Best of Luck, and I look forward to working with you!!


Halloween Round Up 2014

Ready for some Ghoulish Awesomeness!! 18 Days Until Halloween!!


There are so many amazing Free Printables and Party Favors this time of year. Here are some of the ones that I have found (that are actually free).  I hate those not really FREE LINKS.  These Links will take you directly to the source.

Countdown Calendar with Candy Corn Pieces courtesy of Yellow Bliss Road Halloween Countdown free printable title

Halloween Lollipop Holders/Gift Tags and Gift Wrap courtesy of Living Locurto


3-D Halloween Bat Banner courtesy of the celebration shoppe



Trick or Treat Party Boxes courtesy of Bird’s Party Blog

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I saved the best for LAST!! I admit that this is the first year that I have heard of the Boo’d Phenomenon.  But, I thought it was truly adorable.  Here’s how it works.  You and your kids pack up a bucket, or bag with lots of Great Halloween Treats, and Leave it on your Neighbor’s Door Step, unbeknownst to them. Now, originally I think you were supposed to ring the door bell and run, but that’s not such a popular thing to do these days.  So, I say, use your discretion, lol.  Along with the treats, you provide them with some quick directions and an explanation and it’s up to them to keep the FUN going!!

Boo’d Banner and Boo’d Game courtesy of Classy Clutter



My oldest (18), was a really big fan of Halloween, probably a lot longer than he should have been, lol.  The little ones, not soo much, they still find it scary, but I thought this is something cute, I could do with them.  At least, it would make Halloween a little less grueling.  But, I am not sure how hubby is going to feel about that.  The bottom line is that all these Holidays are just about making fun memories and spending time with your family.  So get out there and enjoy them, while they still let you!! (smile)

Some Like it Hot!!

I love HOT BREAKFAST!!  But, I don’t necessarily LOVE to make it.  I am absolutely not a morning person, and in the AM, I am most comfortable GRUMBLING until after I have had my STRONG COFFEE.

Breakfast Ideas that Start the Night Before - Give Your Family a Hot Meal without having to Cook in the AM

That being said, I don’t have the luxury of doing that anymore now that I have little ones to get up and get dressed.  The other day a girlfriend of mine told me that she got guilt-ed into making breakfast for her kids when a coworker told her that she makes her kid’s hot breakfast EVERY DAY!!  She went on to ask if my kids eat Oatmeal.  Which they don’t and to tell me that she was preparing Oatmeal in her Crock Pot(that night), so that they could eat in the morning.

This got me to thinking about all the different meals that I could prepare for breakfast the night before.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not about to change into June Cleaver over night.  But, I wouldn’t mind finding something I could throw in the Slow Cooker on a Friday or Saturday night, since I normally try to make Hot Breakfast for the Whole Family on the Weekend!!

We are pretty traditional when it comes to our Breakfast Foods.  The usual, Turkey Bacon, Sausage, Eggs, Toast or Biscuits.  I sometimes get a little fancy, when afforded the luxury of sleeping in with omelettes and quiche, but not often, since I tend to be the only one eating it.

Soo… after doing some Pinterest Hunting, these are some recipes that I am putting in my arsenal.  I am adding them to my Fall Bucket List, and will updpate you all on how Easy they are, but more importantly how they go over with the Fam!!

Do you cook breakfast in the Crockpot?  What’s your go to Breakfast?

Crock Pot French Toast

Copy Cat Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

Breakfast Casserole –** I have already tried this one several times, but not in a while.  I should tell you that it always RETURNS BIG REVIEWS.  I have even taken it to work before for Department Breakfasts and everyone  loved it!!

Jumping Head First into Fall – Our Fall Home Tour

Fall Tour 2014 Hero Image

Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons.  After particularly hot summers here in Georgia, when the seasons start to change, I feel the need to bring as much warmth in doors as possible, enter my Fall Décor.

I feel that the Entry to Your Home Sets the Tone for the Entire House.  So, I normally start with my Front Door and Work My way All the Back to the Kitchen.  But, this year, I was literally chomping at the bit, to pull out the Fall Decorations.  So I started indoors, that way the neighbors wouldn’t  know how crazy I am , lol.  I had also promised my hubby, I would wait at least until September 1st, to start decorating for Fall, and that is literally how long I waited.

I started with the hardest part, the Fall Tablescape.  To me, that is the make or break it point.  All other décor  gets married to this room.  I was pretty sure that I could use most of the items that I purchased last year, but still create a different look than last years.

Here is a glimpse of last year’s décor.

2013 Fall Centerpiece


2013 Fall Tablescape

Fast Forward to this Year:

2014 Fall Tablescape found on


2014 Fall Tablesetting found on


Side Buffet - Decorating for Fall -


The Burnt Orange Bird Cages were something that my hubby picked up last year, when we were trying to figure out how to style the Side Buffet and the Mantle.  Luckily, they were already the perfect color, the only thing I added to them, were some fall leaves to line the cage.  I had a rather large ceramic pumpkin, and I simply put inside my glass cake plate, and added a few fall leaves and floral accents.  Then I decorated the table with other ceramic pumpkins and gourds.  Next,  I set the table with Fall Leaf place mats I bought last year from Bed Bath & Beyond,  in brown and gold.    I used Pier 1  pear and pumpkin salt and pepper shakers from last year and large fall leaves I purchased from Joann’s Fabrics, to make the table settings pop.  And, the scripted napkins were also something that I bought last year.  So I recycled pretty much everything while creating a new and I think a better look than last year.

Next Up, was my Foyer.  It gets a facelift on a constant basis.  I change up the Art Work and Décor based on Season Changes, Birthdays, and Holidays..  After all it’s the first thing you see when you come through my front door.

Past Foyer Looks:

Fall 2013 Foyer Decor


Christmas 2013 - Foyer Decor


This Year’s Look:

Fall 2014 - Foyer Decor

My Formal Dining Room flows directly into My Formal Living Room.  I didn’t do much in this room, but change out the centerpiece, just to give the whole space a uniform look.

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Fall 2014 – Living Room Centerpiece found on

Then, I carried the decorations over into the Kitchen by adding these Chalkboard Candles to the Window Sill in the Kitchen.


Fall 2014 Kitchen Window Display

Last Up, was the Front Door Area.  Here are some pics from the last two years.

2013 Fall Door

2012 Fall Door

And, finally this year!!

2014 Fall Door

Thanks for joining us on Our Fall Home Tour.  As always it’s a joy to decorate my home for my family, and to share it, with you.

I walk the line…


As a Mom and even as a wife, there is definitely a line of demarcation in the sand.   You want your family to be independent, but you also want them to need you. You want your children to be able to enjoy their childhoods as much as is possible, but you also want to teach them a sense of responsibility and accountability.  What falls into the arena of things that they should be responsible for and what are things that I should be responsible for?  And, like most things that come with raising kids, there is no manual.  We are left mostly to our own devices.

With my oldest, I held his hand way longer than I should have probably.  But, I blame that on the fact that he was an only child for almost 9 years.  Rounding the second trimester of my second pregnancy, I realized that I couldn’t possible take on the responsibility of being a new Mom, and continue to hold his hand too.  So, we went through a crash course on things he could do himself.  To my surprise, and probably my relief, he already could do most of the things that I had been doing for him, but wasn’t, simply because I was doing it.

Fast forward 9 more years, and that little baby I was pregnant with is now 9 years old.  And, I find myself in a similar predicament.  Except there are other existing variables.  1.  I have a 4 year old, who I think was born independent. 2. My oldest daughter has an significant speech delay   Because she had such a challenging road ahead of her, I again I did most of the things that she should have started doing earlier.

But, now that we are coming up on the other side of her circumstances, I find that we are constantly having to remind her to do things, she should know how to do already.  I even think she has gone backwards a bit, because Mom always swooped in and saved the day.

I know.. I know.. Bad Mommy. Hubby and I have had to stay on both girls to make sure that they keep their rooms cleaned, do their chores, don’t leave their things all over the house, etc., etc.

All of this had me thinking about exactly what kind of children I want to raise. So, I started doing some research talking to other Mothers that I admire, Mothers whose children have succeeded in life and excelled, and even Mothers who gave their all and had their kids go left instead of right.  I was shocked at what I learned, or at the very least humbled.  Over the next couple of weeks, I will share those findings, books, printables, and conversations that I have had. Hope you all will let me know what you think of my findings, what wisdom you want to impart to your own kids, and what worked for you, and even what didn’t.


Trick or Treat — Working our Way Down the Fall Craft Bucket List!!

Fall Craft Bucket Above – Remember our Fall Bucket List!!

Below – Here are the Items we Actually Ended up Making — Of Course, Fall Is Not Over Yet!!

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The Spider Web Plate was very easy.  I found these festive colored ceramic plates at Publix.  We Used White Painters® Paint Markers to recreate the Spider Web on the Plate, and waited for it to dry then added 3D Spiders to complete the look.

I like most folks this year, got caught up in the Fun-Kin Hype, and bought a Fun-Kin Carvable Pumpkin (top right of the above picture).  It seemed like it would be so much easier to carve than a real pumpkin.  But, I wasn’t impressed.  I did notice that they have Fun-Kin Knives and maybe it would have been easier, if I had used one of those.  But, I didn’t buy one.  So instead, we used a Regular Carving Knife.  I intended to use it as a candy or candle holder.  But, didn’t love either look, so I decided to just use it as part of our Decorations.

Last, but not least, was our Halloween Welcome Chalkboard.  I truly had fun creating this, even if I am no Picasso.  I think it is the perfect finishing touch to our Fall/Halloween Decor.

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Happy Halloween from your Stage Presents Family!!